A Day at the Bon Vivant’s Ettore Sottsass-Designed Pop Paradise
Entrepreneur, art collector, snapshot photographer, and streetwear designer Jean Pigozzi lives large, as filmmaker Matthew Donaldson discovered at Villa Dorane, Pigozzi’s residence-slash-playground in the jetset Cap d’Antibes. The villa is a monumental testament to his long-term collaboration with late Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, who played a significant role in the design of Pigozzi's seven homes. He inherited the house, built in 1953 by neo-classical architect Tomaso Buzzi, from his father Henri–who founded Simca cars–but it was postmodernist Sottsass who “pimped it out.” A member of the Memphis Group, Sottsass’ playful provocations are evident in the clash of off-kilter geometric furnishings and flamboyant colors, accessorized by Baluchi carpets, kitschy ceramics, and giddy light fixtures. “Ettore would say it was boring to have a normal house, you have to change things around all the time. He was not scared of funny colors and funny things,” says Pigozzi. The jubilant décor is enhanced by pieces from Pigozzi’s extensive African art collection, including photographs by Malick Sidibé and an entrance hall hand-painted in bold motifs by Esther Mahlangu with her trademark chicken-feather brush. Around the hall’s perimeter stand four life-size sculptures of notable R&B singers, including Aretha Franklin, by Ivory Coast artist Nicolas Damas—Pigozzi jokingly calls them his “cousins.” Sottsass makes his biggest impact here with the guest quarters, a blocky architectural feat in multiple shades of green paint and even greener balustrades, the interior kitted out with boxy sofas, chairs and beds in hues reminiscent of 80s-era Esprit fashion. Though the pair would collaborate on every aspect of the design, shapes and colors were strictly down to Sottsass. “He was a complete genius [at those],” says Pigozzi. Villa Dorane attracts a steady stream of “friends, venture capitalists and pretty girls” and Pigozzi’s annual Festival de Cannes party is the stuff of legend. “My main idol in life is Howard Hughes,” he says. “I like how he lived all alone with airplanes and girls, but on the other hand I’m a social animal.”
The Modernist Maestro Relaxes at His Sun-Soaked Tuscan Summer House
When building a Tuscan retreat for himself and his family, Piero Lissoni decided that simplicity was key. Visited by filmmaker Matthew Donaldson for today’s edition of In Residence, the Italian designer and architect created an elementary form that was neither part of the vernacular, nor classic Italian pastiche. Keeping faithful to the size and scale of the surrounding houses, he used a concrete that is mixed with the local earth, giving it a characteristic pinkish hue. The stunning landscape envelops the building, its cool, hard lines playing off against the undulating hills. “There is a huge connection between inside and out. I used windows like a super huge screen. I don’t need films here: the theatre is outside, the movies are outside.” The Milan-born innovator founded Lissoni Associati with Nicoletta Canesi in 1986 and has since created an extensive catalogue of designs for brands such as Kartell, Porro, Boffi, Cassina and Flos. His house is filled with a combination of found objects, antique and country furniture, and collected works from contemporaries like James Irvine and Jasper Morrison. By his own admission, today Lissoni is lucky enough to be able to pick and choose the projects he wants. The secret of his success? “I like every year to be better than the year before and to be very good at life, with friends, work, culture, books, food, wine,” he notes. “It is a good obsession.”
The Vogue Italia Editor-in-Chief and Photographer Launch a New Series with EDITION Hotels
Since they met in 1995, Vogue Italia Editor-in-Chief Franca Sozzani and British photographer Miles Aldridge have been creating vivid, surreal set-pieces for the most experimental and provocative of the magazine’s editions. The ongoing alliance between these two fashion creatives is explored in “Vision,” the first episode of a new series exploring the concept of collaboration. It’s directed by NOWNESS regular Johnnie Shand Kydd in association with EDITION Hotels. Since rising to the helm of the lauded magazine in 1988, Sozzani was instrumental in heralding the era of the supermodel in the early 1990s, while championing the careers of pioneering fashion photographers Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber and Paolo Roversi. Aldridge’s work is in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Today he sees the launch of a major home town retrospective at Somerset House, entitled I Only Want You to Love Me, coinciding with a tome of the same name published by Rizzoli. Another London showing of photography, Short Breaths, will be unveiled on July 12 at the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery. “I remember seeing her at one of the runway shows and thinking she looked like a beautiful character from a Fellini or a Visconti film,” recalls Aldridge of Sozzani. “Then a few months later I was having tea with her. I think she wanted me to move into a new world and Vogue Italia have that trust in me, even if I’m playing with slightly disturbing, disquieting, uncertain things.”
Each film in the On Collaboration series has been produced in partnership with EDITION Hotels, a new project between Ian Schrager and Marriott Hotels. The London EDITION opens in Autumn 2013.